Last week, I was in Jakarta and had the pleasure of meeting Andi Rharharha, an Indonesian artist and activist. We met through a contact in Yangon and he was kind enough to share his space with us in a suburb of Jakarta.
He began ISAD as a project to archive street art in and around Indonesia. On his website, he documents graffiti from Java, Sumatra, Bali and other islands. We asked if there was anything in Sulawesi or Papua and he said he’s still looking. Politically and socially, there is a lot happening in Indonesia. And it is not the working democracy as the West portrays it. It is rife with corrupt capitalism and the people are the victims. The United States played a role in this because of our support of the Suharto regime back in the 60s and by ignoring the countless genocides and disappearances, all in the name of business and anti-communism. We talked about this at length and Andi shared some projects he’s been a part of, including Amnesty International’s Day of Disappearances, where Andi took tape and wrote out in front of the Parliament building a request to return the victims.
Below there is also a photo of Andi creating hopscotch games with tape on the streets of Jakarta during the “no car Sundays” done twice a month. His use of tape in almost all his street works reflect his sense of playfulness at his work but, on the other hand, takes street art very seriously and very much believes in its ability to reach the people. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this website and hope that his chosen institutions, including the Ford Foundation, continue to fund this very accessible yet powerful art practice.